Spotlight: Faculty Linda Petzold

Where did you grow up?   

Chicago, Illinois.

Where and when did you receive your degrees?

BA Math/CS UIUC 1974; PhD CS UIUC 1978

What is/are your main research area(s) of interest?

Computational Science and Engineering

Please briefly describe the research area and your work. 

My work focuses on modeling, simulation and analysis of multiscale systems in biology, medicine and materials.  It involves development of computational algorithms and software, mathematical modeling and data analysis, with the objective of making an impact (in collaboration with researchers in other disciplines) on important societal problems.

What lab(s) are you involved in?

Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Lab.

Tell us something interesting about you that we may not already know.

I have 2 long-haired dachshunds who love to introduce themselves to residents and tourists on East Beach and in downtown Santa Barbara.

Why did you decide to work at UCSB?  

The research environment at UCSB is stimulating and highly multidisciplinary.  The University was interested in starting a graduate program in Computational Science and Engineering, which was very attractive to me.

What do you like most about the CS department? 

My colleagues!

What do you find rewarding about your research?   

I am addicted to the process of reaching a deeper understanding and coming up with new ideas.  It is rewarding to work with students and postdocs, and to watch them develop both personally and professionally.   I love to work with researchers in other disciplines and use my skills to make an impact.

Do you collaborate with others (in or outside of the department) in your work? If so, give some examples. 

I collaborate extensively.  Within the CS department, I am currently collaborating with Professor Krintz on an integrated development environment for deterministic and discrete stochastic simulation of biological systems, in the cloud.  I collaborate with UCSB faculty in Materials, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, and with faculty and researchers at numerous institutions in the US and abroad, on a wide range of problems.

Comment on your experience as a teacher. 

Classroom teaching is harder than it looks!  What I like best is when I get to know a student can help them find their passion.

Comment on the quality of life as a faculty member and how you balance school, work, social, and family life. 

Life as a faculty member is interesting and fun, but very busy.  How do I balance everything?  As best I can.

Comment on living in Santa Barbara. 

What’s not to like about Santa Barbara?  The weather is excellent, the scenery beautiful, and there is no shortage of fun things to do.